Sunday, August 16, 2009

What’s in a name?

This is Ritzy!

Ever refer to something as being “ritzy”? The origin of this comes from the Ritz Hotel, built in Paris in 1898 by Cesar Ritz.

His attention to detail, perfection, and personal accommodation made his hotel the most luxurious hotel that had ever existed. The level of luxury was such that his name became synonymous with quality.

It’s a Doozie!

If something is a “doozie” it too is great. Though there are other attributions to the origin of this term, the most common one attributes the origin to the famed Duesenberg automobile.

The Duesenberg was such an outstanding car in the 1930’s that anything outstanding was a “doozie”!

Your name is mud!

If you’re told “your name is mud” then you’re not held in very high regard.

Like most people, I had often heard that this came from the case of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated John Wilkes Booth’s broken leg following Lincoln’s assassination. Dr. Mudd was sent to prison, accused of being a accomplice to the killing.

However, in researching this phrase, I have found more than one source that says this expression first appeared in print in 1823, more than 40 years before Lincoln’s murder. “Mud” was apparently English slang meaning “a stupid, twaddling fellow”.

The real McCoy!

There are many supposed origins for this phrase. Everything from a mayor, a boxer, a brewer, an inventor, a bootlegger, and an explosives merchant (just to mention a few); claim to be the origin of this phrase.

In the USA, the phrase seems to be most commonly accredited to the inventor Elijah McCoy who invented an improved oiler for locomotives. Supposedly there were many types of oilers that weren’t as good, so engineers would inquire if the locomotive was fitted with “the real McCoy”.

But ultimate irony is that we are unsure as to which origin is, “the real McCoy”!!

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday – lying in hospitals dying of nothing! – Redd Foxx

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